Chronic Low Back Soreness/Stiffness

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Chronic Low Back Soreness/Stiffness

Postby Phil » Jan 22, 2004 15:59

Has anyone out there had any experience with chronic lower back soreness and stiffness?

I'm 44 yrs. old and have been working out for over 24 years. During that time I've participated in both rock climbing and martial arts (Hapkido).

I've never had any back problems in my whole life until about 8 mos. ago.

Here's a little background. I've always been pretty flexible and for many years I've been able to perform head-high kicks easily. I've always stretched, but I never focused on getting full front and side splits down, since I felt I could kick as high as I needed to.

But after reading Tom's "Stretching Scientifically" and watching both "High Kicks Without Warm-Up" and the "Stretching Scientifically" video, I wanted to take my flexibility to the next level.

I modified my workout routine to follow Tom's regimen exactly as outlined and was making good progress in my flexibility.

Then, about 8 mos. ago, I started getting a little stiffness in my lower back. I didn't think anything of it, just figured it might have been the result of a more strenuous than usual workout.

Over the next couple of weeks the stiffness persisted. It was worst in the morning when I awoke. It would also stiffen up when I'd sit for long periods. However, once I warmed up, I was good as new and I could kick high as ever.

This went on for a couple of months because I was confident I could work my way through it. When that didn't happen, I took a break from all workouts for a couple of weeks. But if anything, the stiffness got worse.

At that point I sought professional help and went to an orthopedic surgeon. He suggested an MRI which revealed no disk damage, only a slight spodylolysis in my lower spine which he said was about average wear & tear for a gym rat my age.

His advice, go easy on the squats and deadlifts.

He also scheduled me for some sessions with a physical therapist. She was pretty thorough and analyzed my movements while doing squats and helped my clean up my technique. She also looked at the mechnics of all my kicks, which she said looked fine. Although on the front leg raise (like an axe kick) she said she could tell once it got above my waist I was shielding my lower back by bending too much.

She also identified some postural issues; a slight swayback position in my lower back, and some inflexibility in my upper back. She indicated my hamstrings were very flexible but my quads were a little tight.

She prescribed some stretches (basically the same as Tom's) for quads, some core-strengthening stuff on the Swiss ball, and some upper back range-of-motion exercises with a foam roll.

I've followed the program, but I still have some nagging stiffness. I get the most relief from doing the knees-to-chest stretch while lying on my back, or lying on my back and raising my legs to 90 degrees (as if you were doing crunches) and then rotating my hips and legs down to the left and right side.

Has anyone out there had the same problem? I've never been in a situation like this where I wasn't able to work my way throught it. I don't know whether I should stop everything for a while, or stretch more or what.

The soreness and stiffness has really become annoying, making me feel older than my years.

If anyone out there has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Sorry for the rambling post.

Take care,


Stiff back

Postby Erica » Dec 13, 2004 16:03

I only started a regular routine of working out a year ago, but two months ago I started having painful stiffness in my upperback each morning that made it hard to get up or even turn. But my back would usually feel normal only 20 mins after waking up.

I wouldn't have worried but it's been two months and the pain in the morning is only getting worse and starting to spread to my shoulders and neck. My back is pretty flexible and I've always stretched it before working out. It's not my mattress and I don't know what else to do for it. Any suggestions?

lower back pain

Postby Kit » Dec 13, 2004 20:25

I also have suffered from bad lower back pain and stiffness. For me it all started a few years ago. I tried to treat it myself using rest and then gently getting back into things, but I found that the pain and stiffness always came back once I got back into my regular training routine.

Eventually I went and got an x-ray (which the doctor said was normal) but as the pain didn't go away he sent me to a sports doctor who then wanted to send me somewhere else...and it went on...

Eventually I decided to follow Mr Kurz advice to see a chiropractic doctor qualified in Applied Kinesiology. Then things got fascinating. On my first visit I took in my x-ray and showed it to him. He had a look and then told me my life history (as far as body impacts go) just by looking at the shape of my spine (eg that I had had a heavy fall at around two years old another at 9 and so on - all accurate). Then he ran through some tests to see which of my muscles were working as they should and which weren't. He was able to identify that certain muscles in my back were not working...and others were compensating for them - thus the stiffness and pain. These muscles were doing double the work they were intended to do.

He prescribed me some stretches and exercises to relax and strengthen the muscles that were not working. Over a period of about a month my back improved remarkably to the point that I am now able to perform beyond what I ever have before (even when I was a teenager- I am 31 now).

So in short - I recommend you visit a chiropractor qualified in AK. From my experience I can honestly say nothing compares and no other kind of doctor has the same knowledge.

All the best with your pain!
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Joined: Mar 09, 2004 20:45

Postby Guest » Feb 15, 2005 20:28

Healing Back Pain


Dr. John Sarno

= pain gone.

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